SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES FOR PARENTS
As parents, you can approach suicide prevention in the same way you do other safety or health issues for your children; by educating yourself. By educating yourself, you can learn what puts children and teens at the greatest risk for suicide and what you can do to protect them.
Suicide has been in the news and in popular entertainment now more than ever. As a parent, you play a key role in building up your child’s mental health, emotional health, and spiritual health. You can be a key player in your child’s overall health by becoming aware of the risk factors and warning signs, making yourself available to your child, knowing how to practice having a “Caring Conversation,” and by being aware of the help that’s available to you.
Please take the time to read this email to gain a better understanding and to educate yourself on suicide prevention.
Remember, you are not alone and God has provided you with a community who loves and cares for you and your family.
-NCBF's Next Generation Team
(Minister Kyle Williams, Amaris Jones and Minister Alex Palmieri)
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, please contact the
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
SUICIDE PREVENTION INFORMATION
What You Can Do As A Parent
Warning Signs To Look For
How To Talk To Your Child About Mental Health and Suicide
WHAT YOU CAN DO AS A PARENT
- Teach and model healthy habits for mental, emotional, and spiritual health [taking care of your own mental health, talking about it openly, and seeking therapy when warranted]
- Check-In with your child regularly, beyond day-to-day tasks such as school work
- If your child has a history of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, or substance abuse you should check in with them more closely and consider involving a professional
WARNING SIGNS TO LOOK FOR:
TALK: (If a person talks about)
- Killing themselves
- Feeling hopeless
- Having no reason to live
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Unbearable pain
BEHAVIOR: (Behaviors that may signal a risk)
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Looking for ways to end their life: searching on the internet for methods
- Withdrawing from activities
- Isolating from family and friends
- Sleeping too much or too little
- Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
- Loss of interest
- Relief/Sudden Improvement
HOW TO TALK TO YOUR CHILD ABOUT MENTAL HEALTH & SUICIDE:
- Don’t Be Afraid: Don’t be afraid to have the conversation! Ask your child how they are doing, what’s happening in their world these days, and what their concerns are. It can be simple by just asking, “Are you okay?”
- Listen Intently and Without Judgement: Ask open ended questions [those that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.]
- Resist The Urge to Off Quick Fixes or Solutions: doing so tends to shut down the conversation
- Validate and Support Their Feelings: We all want to be seen and heard. Letting your child know that you see them and support how they are feeling can leaving the feeling that they are seen and loved.
- Follow Their Cues: “tell me more about that.” “I’d love to understand more about what that’s like for you.” “When he said that/did that to you, how did that make you feel?”
- For Younger Kids: Use language that makes sense to your child, given their age, development, and what you know of how they think about things.
- If They Don’t Want To Talk: Leave the invitation open for later by saying, “Whenever you want to talk, I’m here to listen and support you.” You could add “I won’t judge, and I’ll never stop supporting you, no matter what challenges you face.”
- Be Careful: not to use statements like “You should…” or “Why didn’t you…”
- AFSP’s Children, Teens, and Suicide Loss booklet, written in partnership with the Dougy Center, The National Center for Grieving Children & Families